The young, professional woman can ninja-level multitask, command a board room, protest in the streets, brunch with the girls, wake up and repeat. But, how is she really doing? It seems contemporary American culture has pushed constant overextension as the gold standard in the Girlboss lifestyle. However, an endless to-do list is often at odds with self-care. Enter modern technology to snap us back into the moment, remind us that we are at our best and most productive when we are happy and healthy. In this article, I examine the many ways a Fitbit can be a key component of the Girlboss lifestyle. Going beyond counting steps, the device and accompanying app are a wonderful tool to track hydration, nutrition, sleep patterns and fitness goals.
For the last 5 days, the Fitbit Flex 2 has become my own personal cheerleader and confidante. Purchased late-night at Target for $59.95 after a particularly grueling work week, I was looking forward to a measurable return to healthy habits i.e. sleeping and eating things other than french fries. Up until this point, all I knew about Fitbits was that they counted steps. I was pleased to discover they could do so much more! After downloading the app to my iPhone and syncing the bracelet, I answered some basic questions about age, gender, height & weight. I then set a few simple goals to track for myself, with an interest in general wellness and accountability rather than weight loss. My individual program is as follows:
1) Take a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, taking at least 250 steps every hour during a 10-6 workday
10,000 steps per day is the recommended number that FitBit starts all of it’s users off with. This amounts to around 5 miles per day, including 30 minutes of daily exercise. Per the FitBit company website, a regiment of 10,000 steps burns anywhere between 2000 – 3500 calories a week. If weight loss is one’s goal, a pound of fat equals around one pound. Thus, walking 10,000 steps a day could theoretically lead to a loss of one pound per week.
I live in a large, metropolitan area where owning a car isn’t necessary. Though walking is already a part of my lifestyle, wearing a Fitbit 24/7 has made me more aware of my daily activity and health. To guarantee that I hit my required steps everyday, I leave my house 5 minutes earlier each morning to walk to the slightly further metro station. For the last five days, I’ve averaged 12,000 steps.
Once I land at my office job, completing 250 steps an hour requires a little more ingenuity. I run a non-profit arts education program at an organization of around 30 people. My work patterns make it easy to get sucked into a task and remain relatively immobile, staring into a computer screen for hours. One of my favorite aspects of the Fitbit is that it vibrates every hour to remind me to stand up and take a walk. To meet my 250 steps an hour, I’ve taken a couple laps around the office, walked up and down the stairs for five minutes, gone to the bathroom on a completely different floor and taken a quick stroll around the block. Interestingly enough, I’ve also come to use the the hourly vibration for a wellness check-in:
How do I feel right now? Am I thirsty? Am I hungry? Am I frustrated? Would this task be better accomplished if I walked away for 5 minutes and returned with fresh eyes? Should I move onto a different project and finish this one tomorrow?
Because of this hourly check-in, I feel focused and better able to make it through a to-do list. My work feels thorough and ultimately more rewarding.
2) Exercise three days a week
I am a person who actively hates working out. It has been a wonderful thing to have my Fitbit automatically recognize walking that lasts longer than 15 minutes as exercise and send me a motivational message at the end. To meet my weekly exercise goal, I’ve made it a point to use one of the hourly reminder vibrations to leave the office and walk to get a coffee at a slightly inconveniently located cafe. This small adjustment to my normal routine has already had a large impact. The midday fresh air and Vitamin D leave me feeling revitalized and ready for anything. Though I initially set out to exercise three days a week, it has actually become a daily habit.
3) Drink at least 72 fl oz of water per day
According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult woman needs about 9 cups or 72 fl oz of water per day. Part of my quest to build healthier habits has been to up my water intake. I estimate I normally consume 24 fl oz per day. Using the Fitbit app, I’ve set my goal at 72 fl oz and have been logging every glass consumed. My 5 day average has only been 50 fl oz. Though doubling my intake is nothing to frown about, hitting the 72 mark has been surprisingly difficult. If nothing else, the process of having to meticulously account for what’s going into my body and that data being immediately translated into a visual representation has been illuminating. I feel encouraged to keep trying.
4) Eat a healthier diet
Coming off a week of non-stop work and stress eating, I was looking forward to a system reset. Logging one’s daily consumption into the app creates an immediate sense of accountability. I naturally thought twice about unhealthy food choices that I would normally make because I would have to tell my Fitbit buddy about it. From an informational standpoint, I’ve gained a greater awareness of the nutritional content of my usual food choices. It has become obvious that I could benefit from upping my protein intake and lowering my fat intake. It has also been helpful to see that, by adding more walking into my daily life, the amount of calories I consume actually winds up being lower than the calories I burn.
5) Sleep 8 hours a night
For the last five days, I’ve averaged 7 hours, 39 minutes of sleep each night! If one wears their Fitbit to bed, it will automatically track the length and quality of a night’s sleep, accounting for moments of awakeness and restlessness. I’m usually a chronic insomniac so this week is a reason to celebrate. Perhaps there is something magical about putting one’s goal out into the world. Perhaps there’s something inherently calming about an hourly wellness check-in. Either way, I am delighted and well-rested.
Though over-extension has become the gold standard in the Girlboss lifestyle, the last five days I’ve been living my life like it’s golden. By incorporating a Fitbit into my daily life, I’ve put my own wellness front and center. This shift to self-care has made me more focused and productive at my demanding career. Simply, I slay all day and sleep all night!